At the beginning of the semester I never thought much about the actual definition of sustainability. A majority of what I have been taught since starting at OSU has been how to incorporate sustainable materials into designs and to research the most sustainable ways to build and renovate a space but none of those lessons had come with a specific lesson in sustainability in general until this course. Prior to this course when I heard the word sustainability it was usually in reference to LEED certified designers or buildings or products that were recycled/upcylced or products that are certified cradle-to-cradle products. During this course I learned that sustainably is so much more than I had ever imagined. Now when I think about defining sustainability my brain goes above and beyond just the products and practices. Sustainability, to me now, is a series of scientific proof, systematic theories, design techniques, and renewable products that should replace existing non-renewable products and procedures to help instill a bigger and brighter future for the future generations. There is so much more than just sustainable products that can ensure a clean and healthy world for people now and in the future that if we start using them right now could change the future for the better.
One of the most pronounced epiphanies that I have realized while in this class is how wasteful a person can be. Not only by the trash that a person throws out every week but also just how wasteful we are when buying clothes and when buying our everyday products and not thinking about the process that those products went through to get to that specific store. Not only household products but also food that I buy and sometimes throw out because I forget to eat it and it expires. Now I have a clearer conscious and will think for fully about the products that I will buy and even research where I can get local made products and food so that it is not only helping those in my community but it is also more sustainable in the journey that it took for that product to end up at that store.
Another sustainable practice that I enjoyed learning more about this semester was the idea of empathic design. I have also had a fondness for the idea of empathic design after first hearing about the woman that spent months dressed as an elderly women to fully understand the difficulties that people have when the design of a building is not accessible to them. I have become a big fan of universal design and when redesigning my parents’ bathroom two years ago, I tried to incorporate as much of those design techniques that I could. Over the past few months, I have learned so much more about sustainable practices and design concepts that I cannot wait to use in my future designs.
Since I am going into residential design, one thing that I want to know more about in the future is how to create residential homes that are more sustainable than non-renewable. I would like to know more about how to make the frames of houses more sustainable and how to create a sustainable foundation of the house compared to just the interior products that one will see. I also would love to find various local manufacturers that are sustainably driven companies to use in my projects.
I have enjoyed this class and all of the knowledge that I have learned over this semester. I am excited to take this information and use it in the real world. There are so many theories and processes that I have learned that I can use in my daily life as well as in my designs.